US Sortition Foundation meeting this Sunday

Announcement by Owen Shaffer.

The US chapter of the Sortition Foundation is featuring a presentation from of by for at it’s Sunday online meeting, with a particular emphasis on the work they have done regarding messaging related to sortition. They have passed along some links that provide useful context for the upcoming conversation:

  • Sharing Sortition With Some Soul is an essay that explains some of the major stumbling blocks we run into when talking about sortition and deliberative democracy
  • of by for Polling Results shares key findings from a United States survey they conducted related to messaging and appeal of lottery selection at the highest levels of government
  • Their website ( attempts to incorporate their approach to messaging to pitch and generate excitement around a Citizens’ Congress

That’s Sunday 3 May at 4pm Eastern US Time, 3pm Central, 2pm Mountain and 1pm Pacific. Email Owen Shaffer at by Saturday to ensure you receive the connection information in a timely manner, or you can join our email list at

3 Responses

  1. It was present in the Zoom, and it was good to see energy around organizing rather than debating the finer points, which is what we usually have on EbL. On the other hand, I left the call still uncertain about what the strategy for getting “democratic lottery” or “civic lottery” to a wider audience if they plan on holding JUST an assembly of 100 people from the entire country. They do not want to work with the political process in order to avoid “being coopted.” They have some nice “safe” names on their advisory board but those same people were on Ameria in One Room and that got zero traction bc the media ignored it or put it into a box of, “we could all get along, if we just sit down together.”
    America in One Room was huge wasted opportunity and attempting to reproduce it, using the same framing, but on a smaller scale, and with less money does not sound like strategy to me.
    I agree with the pdf about talking about citizen assemblies in a new way, but I do not see how that fits with the message of going beyond parties, beyond Washington, when at the end the framing of the event itself makes it sound too much like a Deliberative Poll trademark and all.
    Terry B. was there and probably has a lot to say.


  2. Actually I DON’T have lots to say. The new US chapter of Brett’s Sortition Foundation is very small with some new and some long-time sortition supporters. The point of THIS online chat was to hear from Adam Cronkright and George Zisiadis from a DIFFERENT organization called “Of By For” that is focused on launching a mass movement with new framing (they never use the word “sortition” but do talk about “democratic lotteries.”) The most interesting thing is that they did a professional public opinion survey, and found large majorities of Americans would be happy to replace elected politicians with ordinary people, etc. People should look at the link in this posting to the survey summary. Their conclusion is that it took sortition 50 years to get to where we are today, but that mini-publics are ready to go mainstream.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The results in the survey are quite interesting – especially for the questions asking directly about amendments changing the way Congress and presidential candidates are selected.

    Liked by 1 person

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